Office of Human Relations
Employment Discrimination In The City Of Orlando
The City of Orlando OHR administers Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), Title I of the ADA and the applicable sections of Chapter 57 of the Code of the City, which prohibits discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex (includes pregnancy and sexual harassment), national origin, age (40 and over), disability (mental or physical), marital status, sexual orientation (Chapter 57 only) or retaliation. These provisions cover all terms, conditions and privileges of employment, including but not limited to, job advertisements, recruitment, hiring and firing, transfers, promotions, layoffs and recalls, discipline, compensation, assignments, classification of employees, testing, use of company facilities, training and apprenticeship programs, fringe benefits, leave time, etc.
Employment discrimination complaints involving business/private employers, employment agencies, labor unions or joint apprenticeship committees and state or local governments, are filed as per below.
· With 15 or more employees, complaints are filed with the OHR, under federal law and are dual filed with the State of Florida. Authorization for processing these complaints (mediation, investigation, conciliation) is determined by a combination of the OHR and EEOC rules and regulations, mandated by Chapter 57 of the Code of the City and contractual agreement with the EEOC.
· With less than 15 but at least 6 employees, complaints are filed with the OHR, under local law (Chapter 57 of the Code of the City) and processed (mediated, investigated or conciliated) by OHR only.
Note: EEOC and local agencies do not accept complaints involving a federal agency. Those complaints must be filed with the agency’s internal EEO office at the respective governmental branch.
Some employers that may be exempt from employment discrimination laws are (this is not an exhaustive list):
· those with less than 15 employees (federal law);
· those with less than 6 employees (local law);
· religious corporations, associations, societies and schools;
· Indian tribes; and,
· a bona-fide private membership club.
If you receive a W-2 from an employer for tax reporting purposes, you are generally covered by the aforementioned laws that prohibit discrimination.
Some employees and activities not covered by employment discrimination laws are (this is not an exhaustive list) –
· contractual employees (receives a 1099 for income tax reporting purposes);
· political affiliations;
· union activities;
· personality conflicts;
· unemployment compensation; and,
· on-the-job injuries.
Per the anti-discrimination laws, the time to file a complaint is limited. Following is the general time limits, however, coordination of rules and regulations is mandated by existing laws.
· The OHR will process complaints filed within 180 calendar days from the date the incident occurred.
· Complaints filed within 181 and 300 calendar days from the date the incident occurred will be accepted by the OHR and forwarded to EEOC for processing.
· If your complaint occurred within 301 to 365 calendar day, you should contact the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR).
Regardless of the number of days remaining to file a charge, it is best to file as soon as the decision is made to do so. If more than one incident of discrimination occurred, the deadline usually applies to each incident. Exceptions to this general rule are in the event of alleged ongoing harassment, and, equal pay violations.
· Ongoing Harassment
Although, a complaint of harassment must be filed within 300 days of the last incident, all incidents of harassment will be taken into consideration during the investigation of the complaint; even if some incidences occurred more than 300 days earlier.
· EPA Violations
In the event of an alleged equal pay violation, an individual may go directly to court and file a lawsuit. The time limit for filing a complaint or lawsuit under the EPA is 2 years from the day the last paycheck was received. (This is extended to 3 years in the case of willful discrimination).
EPA And Title VII Time Limits
It is important to note that a violation of the EPA may also be a violation of Title VII on the basis of sex. Figuring out EPA and Title VII time limits, where to file complaints, and, the pros and cons of filing an EPA complaint or a lawsuit is complicated. The OHR or EEOC staff will gladly assist in exploring available options.
Prior to filing a complaint with the OHR, the attempt may be made to resolve a dispute through another forum such as the employer’s internal grievance procedure, a union grievance procedure, arbitration or mediation. However, time limits will not be extended while pursuing either forum. These forums for resolution may be pursued at the same time as the processing of the OHR complaint.
Note: Federal employees and job applicants must contact the applicable agency’s EEO Counselor within 45 calendar days from the date of any discriminatory incident.
It can be difficult to determine if your complaint, the involved employment entity, and time limits for filing a complaint are subject to a coordination of the rules and regulations mandated by Chapter 57 of the Code of the City, EEOC and the State of Florida. Therefore, it is important to contact the OHR as soon as possible if you believe you have been discriminated against. The staff is available to discuss your issue and will help you sort out the details of coverage.
Preventing employment discrimination from occurring in the workplace is preferable to trying to deal with the consequences after the fact. The OHR is committed to providing training and technical assistance, outreach and educational programs to assist employers, employees and others that may be affected, in understanding and preventing discrimination. It can be averted if employers and employees know their responsibilities as well as their legal rights.
The OHR can and will help you with your training needs, at no-cost. Our staff is available to make presentations and participate in meeting/workshops with your company. We provide extensive training which can be general and basic or custom designed to meet your company’s specific needs. The training can be provided on-site at your workplace or other place of your choosing, or, a place of our choosing, e.g., Orlando City Hall, an Orlando Community Center, etc.
A generalized presentation of employment discrimination in the workplace may include:
· an overview of the laws enforced by OHR, EEOC, State of FL, and other federal agencies;
· the latest EEO Laws – Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), the Americans with Disabilities Act-Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA-AA); The Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2009;
· a description of each protected class; and
· how to recognize potentially discriminatory situations.
A customized presentation of employment discrimination in the workplace will be per the request of the company, and could include:
· training for the company’s internal investigators and EEO counselors;
· explanation of all protected classes;
· ADA (disability) issues;
· sexual harassment issues;
· religion issues;
· national origin issues; and,
· various others.
For all of your employment discrimination training and outreach needs contact:
Patricia Newton, Asst. to Director & Human Relations Official
Complaints of employment discrimination investigated under federal law covers the bases of race, color, religion, sex (includes sexual harassment and pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, payment of wages, and retaliation. Complaints investigated under local law, Chapter 57 of the Code of the City, include the additional bases of marital status and sexual orientation. Not all bases are covered under each law .
Determining jurisdiction of
an employment complaint, and, if it is covered by the employment
discrimination laws can be difficult. By contractual agreement with the
EEOC, the OHR performs the intake of complaints that may be processed
by either the OHR or EEOC; therefore, during the intake process, the
complainant is advised which of the agencies will handle their
complaint. If you think
rights have been violated, please contact the OHR and a staff member
will readily assist you with any issues of employment discrimination.
· Complainant will call or walk-in to the OHR to discuss their complaint with a knowledgeable staff member. If complainant calls and the complaint meets the requisite standards, an appointment will be scheduled to come to the office, complete and sign the paperwork necessary to file an official complaint. If complainant walks-in and the complaint meets the requisite standards, an appointment will be scheduled or complainant may complete and sign the necessary paperwork during the office visit, the time for which being subject to openings in the schedule and staff availability.
· During office visit complainant will need to complete one or more information gathering forms such as Questionnaires and Affidavits. The information requested will include names, addresses and phone numbers of implicated employer and any witnesses to the alleged discriminatory act. Complainant will also need to provide an account of the alleged discriminatory action(s), in chronological order if possible, along with any documents in their possession that may be relevant to the complaint.
· It is important to remember that should any of the contact information change for anyone referenced in the complaint, including complainant, prior to receipt of notification that the case is closed, the new contact information needs to be forwarded to the agency that is processing your complaint, i.e., OHR or EEOC.
· Complainant should provide as much information as possible about all parties involved in the alleged act of discrimination, and especially important, the correct name and address of the company or organization that you believe committed the act. Also important, if you have filed this complaint with EEOC and/or FCHR, please disclose this to the OHR at time of call or office visit.
· Once the complaint is taken and the complainant’s signature is affixed and notarized (photo identification is needed), the complaint is either kept for processing by OHR or forwarded EEOC, whichever is applicable under jurisdictional procedures.
· Once a complaint is filed, an explanation is given regarding the agency that will process the complaint, the mediation, investigative and conciliation processes, and what participation is expected of the complainant.
· Call the OHR with any questions regarding employment discrimination, including the above information.